The Socialists comfortably carry out the debate to change the norm with the support of the right and some minority partners
Summary of the debate in Congress for the reform of the ‘law of only yes is yes’
Photo: CLAUDIO ALVAREZ | Video: EPV
The reform of the PSOE to correct the verified defects of the law of sexual freedom or of the ‘only yes is yes’ finally took its first steps this Tuesday in Congress, but it leaves many sequels. The progressive coalition in the Government is weighed down, although it is not broken. The two partner parties of this complex legislature, PSOE and Unidas Podemos, reproached each other again to the face, now from the rostrum of the Cortes and on the afternoon before the celebration of 8-M, International Women’s Day, all the grievances that have been accumulating since unexpected reductions in sentences and releases of sex offenders began to be registered in November as a result of the new classification of certain crimes in the law. The PSOE spokeswoman, Andrea Fernández, did not hide her tiredness before the “spiels” not very “mature” of United We Can. The Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, who did not intervene in the session, was on the bench reserved for the Executive accompanied only by the also Minister and Secretary General of Podemos, Ione Belarra. The PSOE proposal has gone ahead with 231 votes in favor (PP, Ciudadanos and some minority allies), 56 against (UP, ERC and Bildu) and 58 abstentions, including Vox, which allowed itself this symbolic gesture when it found that the initiative was going to prosper.
The PSOE imposes the reform of the ‘law of only yes is yes’
The first parliamentary debate of the bill registered a month ago unilaterally by the PSOE reproduced the same patterns and arguments of the media discussion and between offices with which the two parties in the Government have been dealing uselessly since November, a few weeks after its entry into force and as soon as the reductions in sentences for sexual offenders and releases due to different judicial interpretations began to be verified. The discussion between the socialists and Unidas Podemos has been entrenched since then, in public and in private, with no more progress than the caliber of the epithets and disqualifications that have been dedicated and that have also fueled the arguments to arrive more divided than ever at the feminist manifestations of this 8-M.
At the end of the day, the scoreboard reflected a strange vote in this mandate. The PSOE bill now begins its process of discussion and amendments with the support of its deputies, those of the PP, Ciudadanos, PNV, PDeCAT, the Canary Islands Coalition, the defectors of Navarra Suma, the Regionalist Party of Cantabria, Foro Asturias and Teruel It exists, but not UP, ERC or Bildu. President Pedro Sánchez and Carmen Baños did not vote for the Socialist Group, nor did the spokesperson for Junts Míriam Nogueras or the spokesperson for Teruel Existe, Tomás Guitarte.
The deputy and secretary of Equality of the PSOE, Andrea Fernández, built her intervention on the basis of clearly recognizing and from the outset the failures, errors and unwanted effects of the law to “respond to the victims” and now assume “responsibility” for their “rigor” modification. And she remarked: “We owe it to the Spanish.” Fernández used many minutes of her speech to gloss over all the feminist advances of the norm, in educational aspects, pedagogy, violence prevention, help for victims, changes in the statute of workers and in company protocols, in employment plans and in the implementation of the state desk and the provincial care centers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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This breakdown was intended to emphasize that the PSOE not only does not oppose the feminist achievements of the law, but rather wants to make them its own -as its own are many of the feminist milestones promoted by socialist governments in this democratic stage of Spain- after enduring During these last weeks, the attempts of Unidas Podemos to patrimonialize the merits of feminism and to corner them as a reactionary force comparable to the PP and Vox. The PSOE spokeswoman stressed several times that her only objective with the reform was to improve the holes found in the norm, “without touching consent a comma” and only by redefining the criminal types programmed to reduce the breadth of the current punitive forks, which has given rise to various legal interpretations.
Andrea Fernández, with a soft tone, did want to respond to all the “ridiculous” volleys directed against the “road map” of the PSOE from Unidas Podemos and the Ministry of Equality of Irene Montero and anticipated the intervention that she expected would be harsh from the spokesperson for that formation. She asked for a “serious and mature reflection” on a complex issue, less “slogans” and more “technical rigor” and she declared herself “tired of rants”.
The deputy of UP Lucía Muñoz replied from the rostrum the arguments expressed before entering the room by Irene Montero, with more emphasis and emotion if possible. She underlined the “very serious” image of the PSOE voting with the PP and Vox “to return to the Penal Code of La Manada” which, according to her version, will once again force women victims of sexual violence “to justify whether they closed their legs properly” before being raped. He spoke of the return of fascism and fear, praised the law as “pioneering and celebrated internationally” and called on all feminist groups and activists to take to the streets and squares this Wednesday 8-M “to not allow a single step back” in the law of only yes is yes: “We are unstoppable.” Several hours later, almost at the end of the day, the leader of Sumar, the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, appeared in Congress, who clarified that she had just come from participating in the table on the scholarship holder’s statute, and declared in the corridors of the Chamber: “ We should never have come this far.”
ERC, EH Bildu, JuntsxCAT and the CUP aligned themselves with UP and Igualdad in not to the reform and in insulting the unreliable adherence of the PP, although in some cases they recognized that the law could admit improvements if the coalition partners arrived before to some kind of consensus.
The socialist Fernández was especially afraid of the invectives of UP and, as the spokesperson for her group, Patxi López, did before, stressed that at this point in time on this matter that has generated so much social alarm, the important thing is “it is not with whom” this reform is brought out but “for whom”. López, at the end of the session, dismissed the UP’s speech without concessions as “unpresentable, irresponsible and out of reality.”
Division before 8-M
The pragmatic and possible vision of the PSOE now, on the eve of a very divided 8-M, convinced some groups, but not even all of its usual partners in the progressive bloc. The first to opt in favor was the spokesman for the Regionalist Party of Cantabria, José María Mazón. Then he was followed, with his tremendous hypercritical style, by the spokesman for the two defecting deputies from Navarra Suma, now on the periphery of the PP, who demanded accountability. Veteran Ana Oramas, from Coalición Canaria, also offered hers two of her deputies for the urgent change, but before her even she apologized to the victims for having voted for the law in her day. Included in that package of complaining supports was the representative of the PNV, Mikel Legarda, or later the deputy for Ciudadanos, Sara Giménez, and the spokesman for the PDeCAT, Genís Boadella.
Carla Toscano, from Vox, did not advance the final abstention of her group in her speech, but she did call the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, an “egomaniac”, as arrogant those responsible for Equality and stressed that the women she represents They now live in Spain “in fear and frightened” with this Executive, “the rapists in the street and the unconstitutional laws.” Cuca Gamarra, from the PP, focused his criticism on the internal division of the Government, which with this reform “censors itself” with “an amendment to all of Sánchez against his coalition and a way of governing from arrogance, without humility and without sensitivity towards the victims”. Gamarra only explained this rectification of the PSOE now “because of its electoral and demoscopic collapse.” And he questioned that Sánchez and the head of Justice, Pilar Llop, like the rest of the Executive except Ione Belarra, would have left Irene Montero alone on the government bench.